Konstantin Yefremov, former Russian military officer who fled Russia, has claimed that Ukrainian men were cruelly tortured in captivity; Russian soldiers shot at them and threatened to rape them.
Source: Yefremov in the interview with the Russian BBC News
Details: In April 2022, Yefremov’s unit guarded their "rear HQ" in Kamianka village in Zaporizhzhia Oblast, Ukraine. The colonel was in charge of questioning Ukrainian captives there.
Quote from Yefremov: "Three Ukrainian military captives were brought there one day. One of them confessed he was a sniper. And the colonel’s eyes lit up when he heard it. He beat him up, pulled down his pants and asked if he was married. He [the captive] answered yes. The colonel told [us] to bring a mop: ‘We will make you a girl now and send the video to your wife.’
The colonel asked a captive once to name all nationalists that he knew in his regiment, his platoon. And the guy did not understand the question, he said: ‘We are marines of the Armed Forces of Ukraine’. The Colonel beat him up and knocked out a few teeth.
He put a gun to a guy’s head as he was blindfolded and told him: ‘I am counting to three, and then I will shoot you in the head.’ He counted, then shot close to the head. He shoots close to one ear and then keeps asking questions."
Details: The officer has stated that these questioning and tortures "had been going on for a week – every day, or night, sometimes twice a day".
He has also recollected that the captives were held in a garage. The Colonel forbade feeding them with normal food and only allowed us to give them water and rusks.
Moreover, according to Yefremov, the Colonel shot through the captive’s arm keeping the bone bone intact, and shot his right leg, breaking a bone, once during the questioning.
The BBC has pointed out that it cannot confirm Yefremov’s detailed statements, but it highlights that those statements correspond with other comments about torturing Ukrainian captives.
Photo: Russian BBC News
Background: Senior Lieutenant Yefremov was a commander in a mine clearance platoon of the 42nd Guards Motor Rifle Division, with its headquarters in Chechnya. Yefremov has said that he arrived in Dzhankoi, Crimea, on 10 February 2022, before Russia’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Yefremov has assured the press that even officers did not believe that there would be a war and thought they were going to military exercises.
He has claimed that he realised on the first day of the war that he did not want to fight and tried to abandon service. At first, the command refused, calling him a coward and a traitor, and threatened with prison for desertion, but they finally dismissed Yefremov, and he left Russia.
Yefremov has said that for the last three years, he was clearing mines in Chechnya that survived two wars – until the Russian war against Ukraine began; he loved his job and believed he was helpful.
"I am apologising to the Ukrainian people that I came to their home armed and as an unwelcome guest. And I thank God that no one suffered from my hands, that I did not take anyone’s life on that land. And thank God I was not hurt. I do not even have a moral right to ask Ukrainians to forgive me," Yefremov summed up.